The Health News – 06 November 2015

Overview:
• The Federal Government plans to remove 17 medicines, including aspirin and paracetamol, from the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme. The change is expected to save $100 million a year.

• Hobart optometrist Ben Armitage received a call on Monday from a GP asking him to investigate why the 14-year-old boy was having vision problems. Photographs of the boy’s eyes show laser burns to his each of his retinas.

• New South Wales paramedics are going head-to-head with the State Government at the Industrial Relations Commission (IRC) to try to resolve a dispute about their death and disability payout entitlements.

News on Health Professional Radio.  Today is the 6th November 2015. Read by Rebecca Foster.  Health News

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-11-05/pbs-changes-cause-concern-for-the-vulnerable/6915870

A Tamworth GP believes the most disadvantaged patients in the Medicare system will struggle to pay for medication that will be no longer subsidised from next year.

The Federal Government plans to remove 17 medicines, including aspirin and paracetamol, from the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme.

The change is expected to save $100 million a year.

Dr Ian Kamerman said the cost effective medications are vital to some of the most vulnerable people in Australia.

“You’re going to get people jumping off their medication on the basis of expense,” he said.

“Even though they’re cheap they’re not free and some patients, for example our Aboriginal patients who are on ‘Closing The Gap’ and also people that have already reached the PBS safety net, these drugs will keep them alive, just simple medicines like aspirin.”

He said Aboriginal people are not the only patients that will be affected.

“People who have come in who are refugees and access the PBS, people that are on pensions and finding ends difficult to meet,” Dr Kamerman said.

“Aspirin is a cheap drug but aspirin keeps so many people alive who’ve had heart attacks and strokes.”

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-11-05/optometrist-warning-after-teen-burns-retinas-with-laser/6916564

 

Optometrists have wa[r]ned parents not to consider laser pointers as toys after a Tasmanian teenager caused permanent damage to his eyes by looking into one.

Hobart optometrist Ben Armitage received a call on Monday from a GP asking him to investigate why the 14-year-old boy was having vision problems.

“He came into see me and on the Friday night he’d got hold of a laser pen and unfortunately shined it in his eyes for a very brief period of time,” he said.

“Unfortunately he’s managed to cause himself permanent damage to the back of his eye.”

Photographs of the boy’s eyes show laser burns to his each of his retinas.

“The back of his eyes on both sides are showing laser burns, so he’s actually managed to burn the retina at the back of the eye near an area called the macular,” Mr Armitage said.

“Unfortunately that’s the area where your detailed central vision takes place and therefore it’s had somewhat of an exaggerated effect on how much sight he’s lost.”

The boy said he did not feel any pain at the time, but the impact on his vision would have been almost immediate.

“The way I’d describe it is if you imagine a camera, it’s the sensor or in old school terms the film at the back of the camera that’s been damaged,” Mr Armitage said.

 

“It doesn’t matter how good a lens you put on the front of the camera it’s never going to overcome damage to the film or the sensor at the back.

In the lead up to Christmas, Optometry Tasmania has warned parents not to view laser pointers or pens as toys.

 

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-11-05/death-disability-payouts-for-nsw-paramedics-disputed-in-court/6914184

 

New South Wales paramedics are going head-to-head with the State Government at the Industrial Relations Commission (IRC) … to try to resolve a dispute about their death and disability payout entitlements.

Some paramedics stand to lose about half-a-million dollars worth of entitlements if the Government changes the scheme in the face of rising insurance costs.

The Health Services Union (HSU) and the Government are taking part in a conciliation meeting at the IRC.

Paramedic and union delegate Steven Fraser said the HSU were hoping to at least hold up against the Government’s move to drop the death and disability award.

“We want to stop that and we want to talk about sensible options that we can create to stop paramedics being injured in the first place, and then to give them some protection financially for their family,” he said.

The HSU said that currently, if a paramedic were to be seriously injured to the point where they could no longer work as a paramedic, they would receive payouts ranging from $685,642 to $253,515 depending on their age, with younger ambulance officers receiving more money than older ones.

If a paramedic is seriously injured to the point where they can no longer work in any profession, they receive payouts of between $699,635 and $559,708 also depending on their age, with younger ambulance officers receiving more money.

Under the proposed Ministry of Health scheme, the HSU said paramedics would receive $185,197 no matter what their age or the state of their injury.

The current scheme has been in place since 2008.

The HSU said it provided peace of mind to paramedics and their families as they went about their work.

The HSU said paramedics were twice as likely to be injured on the job than police, seven times more likely to be seriously injured than other workers and six times more likely to be killed on the job.